It's not uncommon for seniors to have problems sleeping, which research suggests is due to a change in sleep patterns. Older individuals spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep, versus the deep, active-dreaming REM sleep mode. If you're in your golden years and have been struggling to get decent shuteye, don't settle for dark circles under your eyes, low energy, and irritability. Presented by Pure Parker, Here are five surefire ways you can improve your sleeping habits so you'll be off to dreamland in no time.
Exercise Early and Often
Along with boosting bone health, creating lean muscle mass, aiding in keeping off extra weight, and improving mood, research has shown that daytime exercise can stimulate longer periods of deep sleep when conducted on a regular basis. Pick up a pedometer or fitness tracker to help you get a handle on your physical health. These handy devices can track your daily steps, distance traveled, and calories burned, all of which can help you stay motivated to stay active.
Tweak Your Diet
It's no secret that a well-balanced diet is important for maintaining your health and weight, but there are a few tweaks you should make to help you sleep more soundly. For example, choose proteins that are rich in tryptophan (chicken and turkey, milk and dairy, nuts and seeds) in order to boost the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Swap sugary cereals with whole-grain options coupled with milk and a banana. Gradually reduce your caffeine intake and switch to tea. Avoid alcohol near bedtime because it has been proven to disrupt sleep patterns.
Make Your Bedroom a Relaxing Retreat
Considering you should be spending a minimum of seven to eight hours in your bedroom each day, it's crucial that you make this space a clutter-free respite that's only used for shuteye and time with your partner—nothing else. Invest in a quality mattress with features conducive to relieving common senior issues such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, diabetes, and delayed sleep phase syndrome. Key characteristics to look for include support, conforming and pressure relief, firmness options, durability, temperature neutrality, motion isolation, odor potential, edge support, and ease of movement. Blackout shades/curtains, a white-noise machine, plants, and aromatherapy are other elements that can make it easier to snooze.
Improve Your Home's Air Quality
If you wake up with a dry throat and cracked lips, it may be time to improve the air quality in your home by purchasing a warm-mist humidifier. Cooler, drier air can make respiratory issues worse, so this device will help prevent dryness while improving the overall condition of your home. Research also suggests that a humidifier can reduce the lifespan of flu germs in the air, thus preventing illness. Be sure to look around online for the best options.
Adopt a Sleep Ritual
A sleep ritual does not include the things you should already be doing such as brushing your teeth. Rather, this is a relaxing activity that helps you decompress so that it's easier to drift off to dreamland. Your sleep ritual can include drawing or writing in a journal, sipping on a warm beverage, making a to-do list for the next day, meditating, reading, stretching, taking a warm shower or bath, turning down the thermostat to 65 degrees, or unplugging from electronics at least an hour before bed. You can also look into aromatherapy products from Pure Spa Gifts.
If it's been more than three weeks and you're still struggling to sleep, it's time to book an appointment to see your doctor to discuss other treatment options. If you’re a senior who’s struggling with sleep, your Medicare provider may cover sleep studies. It's important to pinpoint exactly what type of disorder you have, as the issue can be anything from insomnia to sleep apnea to restless leg syndrome. Just be weary of taking sleeping medication to ease your symptoms because they can become highly addictive if you're not careful.